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The Beach House

The Beach House

4.1 267
by James Patterson, Peter de Jonge

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Jack Mullen is in law school in New York City when the shocking news comes that his brother Peter has drowned in the ocean off East Hampton. Jack knows his brother and knows this couldn't be an accident. Someone must have wanted his brother dead. But the powers that be say otherwise. As Jack tries to uncover details of his brother's last night, he confronts a


Jack Mullen is in law school in New York City when the shocking news comes that his brother Peter has drowned in the ocean off East Hampton. Jack knows his brother and knows this couldn't be an accident. Someone must have wanted his brother dead. But the powers that be say otherwise. As Jack tries to uncover details of his brother's last night, he confronts a barricade of lawyers, police, and paid protectors who separate the multibillionaire summer residents from local workers like Peter. And he learns that his brother wasn't just parking cars at the summer parties of the rich. He was making serious money satisfying the sexual needs of the richest women and men in town. Beach House reveals the secret lives of celebrities in a breathtaking drama of revenge-with a finale so shocking it could only have come from the mind of James Patterson.

Author Biography: James Patterson is the author of many international bestsellers, including the #1 bestseller 1st to Die. He lives in Florida.

Peter de Jonge wrote the bestselling Miracle on the 17th Green with James Patterson, and has written for several national publications. He lives in New York.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
James Patterson's novels are unpretentious thrill fests, narrative roller coasters that keep you glued to your seat by the centrifugal force of his rapid-fire, pithy chapters and his unadorned yet effective prose. The megabestselling author of Kiss the Girls, 2nd Chance, and Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas sets out to tell a story, plain and simple -- and always does so with irresistible chemistry.

In The Beach House, Patterson reunites with his writing buddy Peter de Jonge (Miracle on the 17th Green) to tell the tale of one man's search for his brother's killer. Columbia law student Jack Mullen has just about everything going for him: He's a summer associate at a prestigious law firm in New York City; is dating the drop-dead-gorgeous daughter of Barry Neubauer, one of the richest men in the United States; and spends weekends at Neubauer's home in the Hamptons. But Jack is no spoiled rich kid. He has blue-collar roots, and his father and grandfather do their best to keep him grounded in reality.

The same can't be said for Jack's brother, the handsome, devil-may-care Peter. Peter works as a valet in the Hamptons, parking cars for the rich and famous, and tools around town on his $20,000 Mercedes Benz motorcycle. When Peter's body is found on the private beach of Neubauer's estate, the police call it an accidental drowning -- maybe even a suicide. Jack's not buying it, though. He begins his own investigation and soon discovers that his brother was involved in some kinky sex games with many of the richest and most powerful people in town. The more Jack probes into the dark secrets of the town's residents, the more he finds his life in danger: Someone wants him to shut his mouth and walk away and will do anything to make that happen....

Overflowing with action and suspense, The Beach House is a thrilling story of beautiful people, money, power, sex, murder...oh, and let's not forget revenge. This grab-you-by-the-seat-of-your-Ralph-Lauren-khakis tale is an adrenaline rush that makes the perfect beach read -- all year round. (Stephen Bloom)

Patterson's latest beach read, a break from his Alex Cross series, is a revenge fantasy set in the East Hamptons. Townie roustabout Peter Mullen is barely introduced before he's found dead outside the posh home of billionaire media tyrant Barry Neubauer during a celebrity-packed Memorial Day blowout. Peter's brother Jack doesn't believe that Peter killed himself, and he enlists the help of his motley band of friends to find out what really happened. Standing between Peter and the truth is a crooked police department, Jack's girlfriend (who also happens to be Neubauer's daughter) and a goon called The Fixer. Much of the book is breezy and lighthearted, devoid of the sadism that characterizes Patterson's thrillers. By the end, fans may start to miss Alex Cross, whose presence could have given this flyaway story some weight.
—Chris Barsanti

Publishers Weekly
Patterson's second coauthored novel of the year (after the current bestseller 2nd Chance, written with Andrew Gross) is a relatively rare stand-alone for this immensely popular writer. Unlike some of Patterson's stand-alones, however, including the most recent, Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, this doesn't move Patterson into new territory: it's a slick, vastly enjoyable yet far-fetched thriller i.e., typical Patterson. Its hero is a Columbia University law student, Jack Mullen, who's out to avenge the death of his younger brother, Peter, found dead on the Amagansett, L.I., property of the immensely wealthy Neubauer family, a few miles from Jack and Peter's Montauk home. The cops say Peter drowned; a glance at the corpse tells Jack that his brother was beaten to death. The rest of the novel traces Jack's efforts, with the help of a female private eye/love interest, plus his elderly grandfather and a band of Montauk locals, to prove that Peter was murdered and that billionaire Barry Neubauer played a role in his demise. Arrayed against Jack are a tough cop, high-placed lawyers and a sadistic killer all owned by Neubauer money. Jack's diggings lead to evidence not only of Peter's murder but of its part in a coverup involving sexual scandal and blackmail; to get the justice that's denied them, Jack and his friends take the law into their own hands, kidnapping Neubauer and his cohorts and trying them in a kangaroo court whose proceedings they broadcast on TV. Smooth as a vanilla milk shake and no more sophisticated, written in 113 short chapters that won't tax anyone's attention span, this is smart, market-savvy, populist entertainment. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Yes, another book by Patterson; the prolific author can spin out three books a year. This one centers on law student Jack Mullen, who doesn't believe that his brother's drowning death is an accident. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Not to fear: Just because megaselling Patterson has teamed up once more with journalist collaborator de Jonge (Miracle on the 17th Green) doesn't make the pace of this slick, ludicrous thriller any slower, the puppets any more complex, or the sentences any longer. The East Hampton cops say that proletarian nobody Peter Mullen stopped parking cars to smoke a joint and drown during zillionaire Barry and Campion Neubauer's Memorial Day Party in Montauk. Forensic evidence shows that Peter was beaten to death before he was tossed into the frigid water. But when Peter's brother Jack, a student at Columbia Law who's a summer associate at the Manhattan firm of Nelson, Goodwin and Mickel, and his old high-school buddies press the authorities to tell the truth, Rory Hoffman, a sinister thug called the Fixer, presses back, and soon the good guys are on the ropes. Jack's father suffers a fatal heart attack. Fisherman Fenton Gridley is nearly drowned himself. Suffolk County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jane Davis is intimidated into perjury. Hairdresser Sammy Giamalva's 11:30 appointment cancels at the last minute. Jack's warned off the case by Chief Detective Frank Volpi, and his girlfriend, the Neubauers' daughter Dana, bails on him-though luckily, Nelson, Goodwin and Mickel's top investigator, Pauline Grabowski, who's just as smart and beautiful, is poised to take her place. When Jack's fired from the firm and Pauline soon follows, it's clear that there's no place the Neubauer tentacles don't reach, and the outcome of the inquest is a foregone conclusion. What isn't obvious, though in retrospect it should be, is Jack's scheme for making sure justice is done anyway. A vigilante pipe-dream topped off by toothlessly shocking revelations about characters even less substantial than the celebrity cameos: Dominick Dunne, Latrell Sprewell, Geraldo Rivera, and Billy "Mudman" Simon.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Beach House

By James Patterson


Copyright © 2002 SueJack, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0446612545

Chapter One

EVEN BY THE HEADY NORM of millennial boomtown Manhattan, where master craftsmen paint frescoes on subway walls, the new law offices of Nelson, Goodwin and Mickel were over the top. If the great downtown courthouses around Broadway were palaces of justice, the gleaming fortyeight-story tower at 454 Lexington Avenue was a monument to winning.

My name is Jack Mullen, and as a summer associate at Nelson, Goodwin, I guess I was winning, too. Still, it wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I entered Columbia Law School at the advanced age of twenty-six. But when a secondyear student with $50,000 in college loans is offered a summer position at the most prestigious firm in the city, he doesn't turn it down.

The phone started ringing the instant I stepped into my small office.

I picked up. Female operator on tape: "You have a collect call from Huntsville, Texas, from ..."

Male voice, also recorded: "The Mudman." Female operator again on tape: "If you wish to accept, please say yes or push the number-"

"Yes, absolutely," I interrupted. "Mudman, how are you?" "Not bad, Jack, except maybe for the fact that the state of Texas is pissing its pants at the thought of putting me down like a dog." "Dumb question."

The surprisingly high-pitched voice at the other end of the line belonged to outlaw biker Billy "Mudman" Simon, and it was coming from the pay phone in Huntsville Prison's death row. Mudman was there waiting for the lethal injection that would put him to death for murdering his teenage girlfriend nineteen years earlier.

Mudman is no saint. He admits to all manner of misdemeanors and an occasional felony during his run in the Houston chapter of the Diablos. But killing Carmina Velasquez, he says, wasn't one of them.

"Carmina was a great woman," the Mudman told me the first time I interviewed him. "One of my best friends in this miserable world. But I was never in love with her. So why would I kill her?"

His letters, trial transcripts, and records of repeated failed attempts to win a new trial were dropped on my desk three days after I started working for the firm. After two weeks decoding every wildly misspelled word, contorted phrase, and hundreds of footnotes painstakingly transcribed in tiny block letters that looked as if they had come from the unsteady hand of a grade-schooler, I was convinced he was telling the truth.

And I liked him. He was smart and funny, and he didn't feel sorry for himself, despite a truckload of reasons why he should. Ninety percent of the convicts on death row were as good as screwed the day they were born, and Mudman, with his deranged junkie parents, was no different.

Nevertheless, he had no enthusiasm for blaming them for what had happened.

"They did their best, like everyone else," he said the one time I mentioned them. "Their best sucked, but let 'em rest in peace."

Rick Exley, my supervisor on the project, couldn't have cared less about Mudman's character or my rookie intuition. What mattered to him was that there were no witnesses to Velasquez's murder and that the Mudman had been convicted completely on the basis of blood and hair samples from the crime scene. That all happened before the forensic breakthrough of DNA testing. It meant we had a reasonable chance to be granted our request that blood and hair samples be taken to confirm that they matched the DNA of the physical evidence held in a vault somewhere in Lubbock.

"I'd hate to get your hopes up for nothing, but if the state lets us test, we could get a stay of execution."

"Don't ever worry about getting my hopes up for nothing, Jack. Where I'm at, insane hope is welcome anytime. Bring 'em on."

I was trying not to get too excited myself. I knew this pro bono project, with the pompous name of "the Innocence Quest," was primarily a PR stunt and that Nelson, Goodwin and Mickel didn't build forty-eight stories in midtown by looking out for the innocent poor on death row.

Still, when the Mudman was cut off after his allotted fifteen minutes, my hands were shaking.


Excerpted from The Beach House by James Patterson Copyright © 2002 by SueJack, Inc.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Brief Biography

Palm Beach, Florida
Date of Birth:
March 22, 1947
Place of Birth:
Newburgh, New York
B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971

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The Beach House 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 267 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is indeed a page turner.In fact, it seems to have been designed to be started and digested all before you have to apply the second coat of sunblock. Patterson and DeJong jump from scene-to-scene, as if they were preparing a story summary from which a movie script could be written (as I'm sure one is). They never stop in one spot long enough to build depth in any character or scene. Jack, the narrator, is fairly likable and convincing, and his grandfather Mack is a surprisingly realistic character in a novel filled with cutouts. However, I found myself repeatedly stopping to remember who was who (especially surprising since I read the book in one day). Of course the ending is implausible (along with a good portion of the plot)-- that's why we read so called 'beach novels' isn't it? To escape from reality. Despite this fact, however, the authors leave too many plot holes gaping wide open and ends untied ('unlaced' may be more to the point) for the book to be very enjoyable. But, if you're looking for a quick, uncomplicated read for a weekend getaway, 'The Beach House' surely fits the bill.
ALLIE16 More than 1 year ago
This is a murder mystery set in East Hampton, Long Island, New York, an area of beach front mansions owned by multi-millionaires. Jack Mullen, the lead character and a law student at a high- powered law firm in New York City, grew up on the lower end of this super rich community, working in his dad¿s small construction company. Ironically, he was dating Dana, the daughter of one of the biggest privately held companies in the world. The action starts at huge party at her dad¿s estate. Jack¿s brother, Peter, who coincidentally was there as a valet parking cars, was discovered dead on the beach from drowning. The police and other officials declared it as an accident, but Jack knew his brother would never swim in heavy storm surf and he hated cold water. His grandfather said, ¿Jack, they say Peter went swimming and drowned. It¿s the single biggest piece of crap I¿ve ever heard.¿ He started to really pursue his brother¿s death but because the family was a very important client of the firm, he was dismissed from his job. Jack went back home to live with his grandfather. Here he reconnected with some old high school buddies, a hair dresser, a fisherman, the county medical examiner, a land scraper, and an EMS volunteer. Together they vowed to discover the truth behind his brother¿s death. A mystery surrounded unexplained money and rumors of sexual encounters with the rich ladies of the town. Together this group dug for facts that the officials had covered up. The doctor proved that Peter had not died of drowning because the lung tissue was not consistent of drowning. He had been ¿ dumped in the water after he stopped breathing. ¿ They had a series of death threats and warnings ¿ Jack was beaten by hired thugs, Johnny was thrown over board to drown, and Doctor Jane had a terrifying middle of the night visit- before they devised a scheme to lure the killers into a vacant mansion to expose them. This is a book that shows the corruption and power that money can buy the evilness of people and loyalty of friends. The book kept me interested from beginning to end with the description of the super rich and there huge mansion all wrapped around a murder mystery.
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
I normally race to pick up a James Patterson book. On this particular book I only read approx 60 pages and was sooo bored that I put it down. Characters were not enjoyable like they usually are - couldn't bear to waste my time on a book this boring. Too many good ones to read! I love James Patterson and will put the blame on his co writer Peter DeJonge and will be sure not to pick up any of the books with this co author. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're in the mood for a great thriller this summer, consider some of Patterson's earlier works (Along Came a Spider) rather than his Patterson's latest offering. The characters are shallow, the writting poor and paper-thin plot quite predictable. Perhaps part of the problem is Mr. Patterson churns out at least two books a year (summer and holiday). Maybe next year Mr. Patterson will concentrate on quality rather than quantity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good story that will keep you reading to see if you've figured it out or not.
Jayarby More than 1 year ago
I don't know whom to blame for the terrible writing plot and writing. Patterson or DeJonge. Patterson's novels remind me of those "Starving Artist" commercials on TV sold out of hotel conference rooms over a weekend. Those are assembly line landscape paintings where one guy paints the clouds, another paints mountains or streams, etc. Garbage, just like assembly line novels "written" by Patterson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book started out great and that the characters were well developed. Towards the end I just couldn¿t believe that Jack¿s character would have solved his brother's murder this way. I think you can tell the parts where James Patterson written and where the other author takes over. This is not one of my favorite James Patterson Books.
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beachbabe21 More than 1 year ago
Excellent read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have read almost all of his books. This one was excellent
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
readerpersonSR More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, It was a nice little read. Without delving into the story and ruining it for the next guy. It's about a brother and neighborhood buddies, that avenge the murder of his brother and there friend. The ending is quite unique, although non plausible. If I have a complaint, I'd say the length of the book was too short, around 200 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts out slow but keep reading. Dont miss the ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I see StarClan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*she silently stalks a quail then pounces and silences the huge bird with a bite to the neck and covers it with leaves then she pads into a clearing watching a squirell nibble on acorns and listens to a hawk above she stands still blending into the shadows behing her until the hawk swoops down after the squirell then after the hawk pierced the squireel with its talins and killed it she pounced onto the hawk her muscles rippling and snapped its neck with a stomp of her strong paw and covers leave over that. She continues hunting and catches three mice. She watches a shrew and a water vole fight over a sunflower seed before silencing them both. She hunts for forty five minutes until satisfied by the amount of her catch. In all she caught the quail hawk squirell five mice a crow shrew watervole two fish and a frog and takes several trips to carry them back*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was great like all the other patterson books this was excellent and even thought im 13 i know a good patterson book when i read one
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Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
Jack Mullen is a law student and the grandson of Mack, a feisty, strong-spirited Irishman. Jack is a very successful law student and has landed an internship at a prestigious law firm. As he keeps facing roadblocks with his pro bono, death row case, he learns the tragic news of his brother’s death. In his hometown, everyone knows everyone, yet Jack can’t figure out why no one is taking Peter’s death seriously. Peter’s body was found badly bruised and obviously beaten, yet the police brush it off as a drowning. It is up to Jack, his friends and Mack, to find out the truth and seek justice. Yet the truth may cause more innocent lives to be lost. The Beach House is a thrilling, fast-paced ride through the politics of the rich and famous versus justice and truth. Massive cover-ups, with shocking twists and turns, will leave readers emotionally exhausted. “Taking justice in your own hands” is an old saying taken quite literally by the Mullen crew in this book. The short chapters and the Hamptons setting, make this a fast read, perfect for a day at the beach. Though the subject matter is recommended for mature audiences only. Fans of James Patterson and fans of the mystery/suspense genre will want to mark this book as a must-read. Notes: This review was originally written for My Sister's Books. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great read by james patterson
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